East County Sports

Braves, Matadors could thrill tonight

El Cajon Valley senior Paris Dixon. / Vanilla Gorilla

2022 EAST COUNTY PREP FOOTBALL

 

EastCountySports.com staff report

 

EL CAJON — The best matchup of the East County football weekend kicks off tonight when the El Cajon Valley Braves host the Mount Miguel Matadors.

The Braves are going for their third victory of the Grossmont Valley League season, something the program hasn’t achieved in 17 years.

Almost as rare, however, would be a Braves victory over the Matadors.

El Cajon Valley trails the all-time series, 48-7-1, including 11 consecutive Mount Miguel victories.

Mount Miguel is rated about a two-touchdown favorite in tonight’s contest but the Braves figure to keep the game within a pair of touchdowns.

The last time El Cajon Valley defeated Mount Miguel was in 2001 – a 14-13 decision.

Both teams are 3-5 overall with ECV ahead of the Matadors in the Grossmont Valley standings at 2-2, while Mount Miguel is 1-3.

The Matadors’ Matthew Barton has passed for over 1,000 yards this season.

Top target Jeremiah Castillo has 35 receptions for 658 yards and nine of Barton’s 11 TD passes.

Defensively, Matador junior Aaron Carter has 5 1/2 sacks, and is one of the East County leaders in wrapping up the quarterback.

The Braves surely have their best team since their legendary 2005 club.

Senior running back Kal-el Gordon is one of the top backs locally, rushing for 841 yards and 12 touchdowns this season.

El Cajon junior quarterback Darick Dubose has 675 yards of total offense.

Braves’ receiver Paris Dixon has five touchdown receptions and is also one of the top defensive backs in the East County.

Surely, the matchup will be between Dixon and Castillo and will be great to watch.

El Cajon Valley has its own top sack man in senior Yasir Blair, who has 4 1/2 QB wrapups.

In a season where the East County hasn’t had many great matchups, this actually ranks as one of the best of the season… MOUNT MIGUEL, 34-27.

 

EL CAPITAN (5-2, 3-0 GVL) at VALHALLA (0-7, 0-3 GVL) — The Vaqueros will have little trouble with the host Norsemen on Thursday night.

El Capitan has won three-straight league games following last week’s 49-26 win over Mount Miguel in Lakeside, a game in which they trailed at halftime, 26-21.

Sophomore quarterback Brandt Barker seems to look better and better every game for the Vaqueros as he gains experience. He is one of the brightest QB prospects in the East County with his 7-1 TD-to-INT ratio.

Meanwhile, fellow sophomore Chance LaChappa is emerging as one of the top young players in the county, period.

LaChappa is a game-breaker on offense at wide receiver, with 27 receptions for 555 yards and six touchdown. He is also a standout defensive back.

El Capitan junior Julian May has nearly 800 yards of total offense.

The Vaqueros’ Bruce Newland III, a senior, enjoys playing quarterback and has taken about a quarter of the snaps behind center, but given his emergence as a top interior tackler on defense, his role has likely shifted for the most part. He has three sacks over the last two games.

Valhalla’s improvement in the program hasn’t necessarily translated on the field as the team searches for its first win.

The Norsemen have common opponents with El Capitan in league games with Santana and El Cajon Valley.

The Norsemen lost to Santana by a 48-6 county, while El Capitan defeated the Sultans, 7-0, in one of the more important league games this season. Valhalla also lost to El Cajon Valley, 20-13, while the Vaqueros dumped the Braves, 55-21.

The Norsemen could point to their non-league matchup with Hilltop for comparison in competing tonight, as the Lancers beat Valhalla 28-14 in the season opener, while the Vaqueros defeated the Lancers, 9-7, a week later.

El Capitan leads the all-time series, 25-18-1, but the clubs are deadlocked this century, 9-all. That figure changes after tonight… EL CAPITAN… 35-7.

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